I have now mapped and planned out the remaining distance to Poole and it equates to eight days of walking. I had not planned in any ‘big’ days, just circa 18 miles for each walk with an easier final leg.
Due to family matters I was on just another single day mission on a overcast but dry Sunday morning on the south coast. I left Shropshire in the small hours and as usual made very good time down to Emsworth, where I found a good place to park. I set off walking at 05:30 and even at this time I passed people out walking their dog. Within 5 minutes I had passed out of West Sussex and into Hampshire, this would be the penultimate historic County before I re-entered Dorset where my walk will end.
Todays walk, although taking in a small section of the mainland, would be predominantly around Hayling Island, another of the many promontories jutting out into the Solent. I made my way around Emsworth and picked up The Solent Way. I headed along the shore passing through the large Warblington Cemetery. I think this was the first time I had followed a walking trail through a cemetery. I soon arrived at Langstone, the end of my walk! But first I had to try and do a circular walk around Hayling Island. The eastern side of the Island had few opportunities to walk along the shoreline, so it was a case of making my way along country lanes, residential streets and the odd footpath. I must admit this first section of the walk held little interest for me, so it was of some relief to arrive at East Stoke on the coast and look across the entrance to Chichester Harbour and East Wittering where I had been two walks back.
South Hayling is the place where the majority of people live and although not the usual seaside resort offers open views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. I was now walking westwards along the coastline of a high shingle beach. I soon came across the Hayling Railway, a small mini-gauge single track running for about a mile along the sea front to a small fun fair. Although, this was a Sunday morning everything, apart from the odd ‘greasy spoon’ was closed. I made my way around the tip of the Island at Gunner Point and could see Fort Cumberland on Portsea Island where I would be walking on my next walk. I arrived at the Ferry Inn and then turned due east walking along the road walking for about a mile before turning through residential streets aiming for the Hayling Billy footpath.
The Hayling Billy footpath is set on the route of a short railway branch line from Havant down to Hayling. The was an important link in the Mid-19th century for goods and passengers, particularly during the summer months. The line was closed in 1963, but the remnants of the railway bridge across to the Island can still be seen at Langstone. Arriving back at Langstone I had completed my walk around the island. From there I caught a #30 bus into Havant and then a #700 for the short ride back to Emsworth. The journey back home was beset with traffic queues, which made for a long day.
Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance = 6,547 miles